January 06, 2011

Natalia Vodianova

Natalia Vodianova

Source: Shutterstock

GSTAAD—Six hours into the New Year, and already there was trouble. My own bash to welcome 2011 with fifty of my nearest and dearest finished around 5 a.m., so I rolled down toward the Palace hotel still looking for some action. I had a very pretty German girl in tow, my son’s friend Fiona, so I swept into the lobby in style. Then it happened. I saw the vision to end all visions and a desperate, sensuous pain, the type that can make a grown man cry out, hit me like never before. This is the curse upon those who follow the supreme Beauty—that is to say, the Beauty that belongs not to ideas and ideals, but to living forms. Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder, but I say that’s all crap. Real Beauty is rare and extremely precious. It means torment and despair, and it leaves a man enchanted and trembling. This one was the real thing. And she came up and started chatting.

I won’t play coy. I recognized her despite my extreme inebriation. She’s Russian-born, very young, a supermodel, and married to a titled Englishman with lotsa moolah and real estate. We discussed what ends a marriage. Or, rather, I did: lack of good sex or utter boredom. She was discreet and noncommittal. She kept staring at me with a very amused expression while three men, two of whom I knew well, hung from her every word. She never told me her name, where she came from, or where she was staying, and I never told her mine. I said I had once seen her at Ascot from far away and left it at that. Then we parted. It was “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” all over again, the tragedy of bodily craving transferred onto the psychic plane. I’ve been destroyed ever since. [Plus, the ghastly AOL doesn’t work in my house and I am not sure I can send this column on time. Oh, for the days of typewriters. I hate the modern world, but never more than the present, where some AOL glitch can ruin one’s life. As if I didn’t have enough problems with La Belle Dame.]

“Underneath the flashy jewels, there is a moral and intellectual sewer the size of the Serengeti plain.”

Life’s secret is to take every risk without fear, and I’d take any risk to win la dame de six heure du matin, but how does one beat Father Time? It’s too depressing for words. Speaking of depressing matters, Gstaad’s most appalling arrival since the plague 400 years ago which killed nine-tenths of its inhabitants was the coming of one Goga Ashkenazi, a woman of unspeakable vulgarity and ugliness who will draw people of her ilk to this once-bucolic Alpine village and turn it into a center for lowlifes like herself in no time. I cannot emphasize what a disaster this is. Such coarseness, avarice, and ruthlessness make yesterday’s crude social climbers seem to possess plenipotentiary dignity. Underneath the flashy jewels, there is a moral and intellectual sewer the size of the Serengeti plain. I’ve never met the woman and hope I never will, but one thing that’s sure is that after her arrival comes the deluge.


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